Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes About Life ( (We Are Our Choices)

Jean-Paul Sartre quotes on freedom and responsibility show that he believes that humans are free to choose their own actions, and are responsible for the consequences of their choices.

jean paul sartre quotes

Jean-Paul Sartre was born on June 21, 1905, in Paris, France. He was a philosopher and a writer. Sartre was best known for his philosophical work, which dealt with the topics of existentialism and phenomenology. He also wrote novels, plays, and essays. Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964, but he declined the honor.

Sartre’s work has been influential in a wide range of fields, including sociology, psychology, literary criticism, and political theory.

Sartre’s early work was heavily influenced by the phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. In his book, “Being and Nothingness” (1943), Sartre developed his own existentialist philosophy. He argued that existence precedes essence, that humans are “condemned to be free,” and that humans must create their own meaning in life.

Sartre was a staunch opponent of communism and fascism, and he was active in the French Resistance during World War II. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964, but he declined it. Sartre died on April 15, 1980, in Paris.

He wrote extensively on a variety of topics, including ethics, Marxism, phenomenology, and the philosophy of art. Many of his writings were published in the journal Les Temps Modernes, which he co-founded.

135 Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

sartre nausea quotes
  1. “When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die.”

2. “You are – your life, and nothing else.”

3. “We are our choices.”

4. “All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.”

5. “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.”

6. “As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become. ”

7. “Life has no meaning, the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.”

8. “It is only in our decisions that we are important.”

9. “Existence is prior to essence.”

10. “Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”

jean paul sartre quotes about life

Inspirational Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

11. “I think that is the big danger in keeping a diary: you exaggerate everything.”

12. “Man is condemned to be free. Condemned because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.”

13. “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”

14. “I found the human heart empty and insipid everywhere except in books.”

15. “He is always becoming, and if it were not for the contingency of death, he would never end.”

16. “I’m going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.”

17. “To know what life is worth you have to risk it once in a while.”

18. “Death is a continuation of my life without me…”

19. “We must act out passion before we can feel it.”

20. “The genius of Proust is the totality of the works of Proust.”

Famous Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

21. “Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.”

22. “Better a good journalist than a poor assassin.”

23. “The individual’s duty is to do what he wants to do, to think whatever he likes, to be accountable to no one but himself, to challenge every idea and every person.”

24. “There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.”

25. “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”

26. “your judgement judges you and defines you”

27. “Something begins in order to end: an adventure doesn’t let itself be extended it achieves significance only through its death.”

28. “Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.”

29. “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.”

30. “Life begins on the other side of despair.”

Though-Provoking Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

31. “I am going to outlive myself. Eat, sleep, sleep, eat. Exist slowly, softly, like these trees, like a puddle of water, like the red bench in the streetcar.”

32. “Time is too large, it can’t be filled up. Everything you plunge into it is stretched and disintegrates.”

33. “Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of and the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose.”

34. “Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”

35. “At the same time, I learned that you always lose. Only the rascals think they win.”

36. “One could only damage oneself through the harm one did to others. One could never get directly at oneself.”

37. “I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.”

38. “I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple.”

39. “What is there to fear in such a regular world?”

40. “Existence is an imperfection.”

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Existentialism 

41. “I suppose it is out of laziness that the world is the same day after day. Today it seemed to want to change. And then anything, anything could happen.”

42. “Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.”

43. “What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.”

44. “One always dies too soon — or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are — your life, and nothing else.”

45. “People are like dice. We throw ourselves in the direction of our own choosing.”

46. “It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.”

47. “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

48. “An individual chooses and makes himself.”

49. “Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.”

50. “I had spent my time counterfeiting eternity, I had understood nothing.”

51. “Life has no meaning a priori… It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.”

52. “My memories are like coins in the devil’s purse: when you open it you find only dead leaves.”

53. “A man is involved in life, leaves his impress on it, and outside of that there is nothing.”

54. “Life is a useless passion.”

56. “I think of death only with tranquility, as an end. I refuse to let death hamper life. Death must enter life only to define it.”

57. “the worst part about being lied to is knowing you werent worth the truth”

58. “Much more likely you’ll hurt me. Still what does it matter? If I’ve got to suffer, it may as well be at your hands, your pretty hands.”

59. “Freedom is what we do with what is done to us”

60. “I must be without remorse or regrets as I am without excuse; for from the instant of my upsurge into being, I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without anything or any person being able to lighten it.”

61. “Man is a useless passion. It is meaningless that we live and it is meaningless that we die.”

62. “Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.”

63. “The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks.”

64. “People who live in society have learnt how to see themselves, in mirrors, as they appear to their friends. I have no friends: is that why my flesh is so naked?”

65. “To think new thoughts you have to break the bones in your head”

66. “Genius is what a man invents when he is looking for a way out.”

68. “Smooth and smiling faces everywhere, but ruin in their eyes.”

69. “It isn’t freedom from. It’s freedom to.”

70. “I found everything perfectly clear, and I really understood absolutely nothing.”

71. “General ideas are more flattering. And then professionals and even amateurs always end up by being right”

72. “Once freedom lights its beacon in man’s heart, the gods are powerless against him.”

73. “Consciousness is a being the nature of which is to be conscious of the nothingness of its being.”

75. “Thus it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations.”

76. “You exaggerate everything. You continually force the truth because you’re always looking for something.”

77. “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”

78. “Remember you’re not alone; you’ve no right to inflict the sight of your fear on me.”

79. “I admire the way we can lie, putting reason on our side.”

80. “Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.”

81. “Perhaps its inevitable, perhaps one has to choose between being nothing at all and impersonating what one is.”

82. “To believe is to know that one believes, and to know that one believes is no longer to believe.”

83. “Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws its portrait.”

84. “Smooth and smiling faces everywhere, but ruin in their eyes.”

85. “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance.”

86. “I am never any one of my attitudes, any one of my actions”

87. “I shall have to get used all over again to speaking to people without touching them.”

88. “Still, somewhere in the depths of ourselves we all harbor an ashamed, unsatisfied melancholy that quietly awaits a funeral.”

89. “You have to aspire to everything to have hopes of doing something.”

90. “Nothing can interrupt it yet all can break it.”

91. “I am going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.”

92. “We have so much difficulty imagining nothingness.”

93. “Once they have slept together they will have to find something else to veil the enormous absurdity of their existence.”

94. “If God does not exist, are we provided with any values or commands that could legitimise our behaviour.”

95. “To exist is to create your own life.”

96. “I have such a desire to sleep and am so much behind my sleep. A good night, one good night and all this nonsense will be swept away.”

97. “To exist is simply to he there; those who exist let themselves be encountered, but you can never deduce anything from them.”

98. “Man is what he wills himself to be.”

99. “There is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it.”

100. “I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.”

101. “If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.”

102. “You believe that you believe, but you don’t believe.”

103. “Our job as a writer is to represent the world and to bear witness to it.”

104. “The distance between the being and the conscience is the nothing”

105. “I wanted the moments of my life to follow and order themselves like those of a life remembered.”

106. “My existence was beginning to cause me serious concern. Was I a mere figment of the imagination?”

107. “What makes or breaks a man is not what people think of him, but what he thinks of himself.”

108. “Everything happens to every man as though the whole human race had its eyes fixed upon what he is doing and regulated its conduct accordingly.”

109. “Commitment is an act, not a word.”

110. “I am neither virgin nor priest enough to play with the inner life.”

111. “The truth is that I can’t put down my pen: I think I’m going to have the Nausea and I feel as though I’m delaying it while writing. So I write whatever comes into my mind.”

112. “Human feeling. That’s beyond my range. I’m rotten to the core.”

113. “Why do you keep maintaining your ideas are right if you can’t prove them?”

114. “The appearance of the other in the world corresponds therefore to a congealed sliding of the whole universe.”

115. “My memories are like coins in the devil’s purse: when you open it you find only dead leaves.”

116. “When you want to understand something you stand in front of it, alone, without help: all the past in the world is of no use.”

117. “We are in hell, my dear, there is never a mistake and people are not damned for nothing.”

118. “Existentialism’s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him.”

119. “Happiness is not doing what you want but wanting what you do.”

120. “There are two ways to go to the gas chamber, free and not free.”

121. “Genius is not a gift, but the way a person invents in desperate circumstances.”

123. “Every sound comes into my ears dirty because you’ve heard it on the way”

124. “Once Right has taken hold of a man exorcism cannot drive it out.”

125. “Her eyes stare at me but she seems not to see me; she looks as though she were lost in her suffering.”

126. “Thus pleasure itself, also becoming a right, lost its aggressive futility.”

127. “Every belief is a belief that falls short; one never wholly believes what one believes.”

128. “Existence is a fullness which man can never abandon.”

129. “I have been much too calm these past three years. I can receive nothing more from these tragic solitudes than a little empty purity.”

130. “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism.”

131. “When I can’t see myself I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist. I pat myself just to make sure, but it doesn’t help much.”

132. “The words I speak are too big for my mouth, they tear it; the load of destiny I bear is too heavy for my youth and has shattered it.”

133. “Everything looks so much alike that you wonder how people got the idea of inventing names, to make distinctions.”

134. “A writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”

135. “I am sure that fifteen minutes would be enough to reach supreme self-contempt. No thank you, I want none of that.”

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